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[poh-poo-ree, poh-poo-ree] /ˌpoʊ pʊˈri, ˈpoʊ pʊˌri/
a mixture of dried petals of roses or other flowers with spices, kept in a jar for their fragrance.
a musical medley.
a collection of miscellaneous literary extracts.
any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc.
Origin of potpourri
1605-15; < French: literally, rotten pot, translation of Spanish olla podrida olla podrida; see pot1, putrid
4. melange, pastiche, hodgepodge, mishmash, patchwork. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for potpourri
Historical Examples
  • There were, in fact, chintz-covered settees, and there was potpourri.

    In the Wilderness Robert Hichens
  • Amongst his compositions he published six Duos concertants (Op.3 and 4) as well as a potpourri for two violoncellos.

    The Violoncello and Its History Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski
  • There is something very pleasant in opening an old China jar to find it filled with potpourri, even if the scent has wholly faded.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • The best rules gave ambergris as one of the ingredients; this is not really a perfume, but gives the potpourri its staying power.

    Old-Time Gardens Alice Morse Earle
  • He thought he detected a pleasant smell of herbs, like the potpourri his mother had in bowls in their house.

    Mr. Wicker's Window Carley Dawson
  • I want food for the gods—iced rose leaves, a decoction of potpourri to assuage my thirst.

    Dimbie and I--and Amelia Mabel Barnes-Grundy
  • If the potpourri was at times redolent of the dried flowers of other men's loves, Eleanor was blissfully unaware of it.

    Quin Alice Hegan Rice
  • Betty knows how to make that potpourri that Lloyd's Grandmother Amanthis always kept in the rose-jars in the drawing-room.

    The Little Colonel: Maid of Honor Annie Fellows Johnston
  • And the rose he married comes to him a shrivelled leaf of a potpourri heap.

  • Bushels of their scented petals are yearly cured by me for potpourri.

    A Garden with House Attached Sarah Warner Brooks
British Dictionary definitions for potpourri


noun (pl) -ris
a collection of mixed flower petals dried and preserved in a pot to scent the air
a collection of unrelated or disparate items; miscellany
a medley of popular tunes
a stew of meat and vegetables
Word Origin
C18: from French, literally: rotten pot, translation of Spanish olla podrida miscellany
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for potpourri

also pot-pourri, 1610s, "mixed meats served in a stew," from French pot pourri "stew," literally "rotten pot" (loan-translation of Spanish olla podrida), from pourri, past participle of pourrir "to rot," from Vulgar Latin *putrire, from Latin putrescere "grow rotten" (see putrescent). Notion of "medley" led to meaning "mixture of dried flowers and spices," first recorded in English 1749. Figurative sense (originally in music) of "miscellaneous collection" is recorded from 1855.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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